Try Our Apps


Gobble up these 8 terms for eating


[ir-i-teyt] /ˈɪr ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used with object), irritated, irritating.
to excite to impatience or anger; annoy.
Physiology, Biology. to excite (a living system) to some characteristic action or function.
Pathology. to bring (a body part) to an abnormally excited or sensitive condition.
verb (used without object), irritated, irritating.
to cause irritation or become irritated.
Origin of irritate
1525-35; < Latin irrītātus, past participle of irrītāre to arouse to anger, excite, aggravate, equivalent to irritā- v. stem + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
irritator, noun
Can be confused
aggravate, annoy, intensify, irritate, worsen (see synonym study at aggravate)
1. vex, chafe, fret, gall; nettle, ruffle, pique; incense, enrage, infuriate, inflame. Irritate, exasperate, provoke mean to annoy or stir to anger. To irritate is to excite to impatience or angry feeling, often of no great depth or duration: to irritate by refusing to explain an action. To exasperate is to irritate to a point where self-control is threatened or lost: to exasperate by continual delays and excuses. To provoke is to stir to a sudden, strong feeling of resentful anger as by unwarrantable acts or wanton annoyance: to tease and provoke an animal until it attacks. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for irritate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I believe he smoked it merely to show how well he was feeling, and to irritate people who were not feeling very well.

    Diary of a Pilgrimage Jerome K. Jerome
  • Everything that was tried only seemed to irritate her the more.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • That the sight had the power to melt some jurymen and irritate others, who should deny?

    The Gods are Athirst Anatole France
  • Were it not, then, more becoming in me to pray for, than to irritate him?

  • This reference, which was receive with smiles by the Imperial Parliament, was certain to irritate a punctilious republic.

    Penguin Island Anatole France
British Dictionary definitions for irritate


to annoy or anger (someone)
(transitive) (biology) to stimulate (an organism or part) to respond in a characteristic manner
(transitive) (pathol) to cause (a bodily organ or part) to become excessively stimulated, resulting in inflammation, tenderness, etc
Derived Forms
irritator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin irrītāre to provoke, exasperate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for irritate

1530s, "stimulate to action, rouse, incite," from Latin irritatus, past participle of irritare "excite, provoke." An earlier verb form was irrite (mid-15c.), from Old French irriter. Meaning "annoy, make impatient" is from 1590s. Related: Irritated; irritating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for irritate

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for irritate